The next morning came quickly. Akiko was woken up by a frantic Kiyoko.
Kiyoko: Mom! Mom! Hurry! Come quickly!
Akiko rubbed her eyes. It wasn't the first time this happened. Kiyoko had a bad habit of waking her over the smallest thing. Especially when she was little. She'd wake her up, drag her outside and show her some small bug or something. Kiyoko practically forced her to learn how to wake up in the morning.
Kiyoko: Its Miwa!
That caught Akiko's attention. She hurried to the guest room to see that Miwa's condition hadn't improved. She retrieved the wet rag from the bucket, and wrung it out. She then calmly placed it on her forehead. Her breaths were short and methodical, as if her body knew it couldn't get a lot of air at one moment.
Akiko: Kiyoko, get a tepid bath ready. Now.
Kiyoko did so immediately. Akiko grabbed the towel to cover Miwa's body and then carried her to the tub. As Kiyoko finished it, Akiko set Miwa inside the tub, towel and all. Her breathing seemed to become more relaxed.
Akiko: (Her fever spiked at some point.)
She pressed the back of her palm against her forehead. It was hot.
Akiko: Kiyoko, go grab a thermometer.
Kiyoko: Yes mom...
Kiyoko quietly exited the bathroom. Akiko, still in the bathroom, proceeded to tie Miwa's hair behind her head. Kiyoko soon returned to the room with the thermometer as requested.
Kiyoko: Mom, I have a question.
Akiko took the thermometer.
Akiko: I'm listening...
Kiyoko: If she was burning up, why didn't we put her in a cold bath?
Akiko: That would've been a bad idea. Because Miwa potentially has the cold or flu, she essentially has a fever as one of the symptoms. While we could make her cooler by putting her in a cold bath, it would cause her core body temperature to go up.
At that moment, Miwa's eyes slightly opened.
Miwa: ...huh? Where...?
Akiko turned her attention to Miwa.
Akiko: Miwa, I'm going to need you to bare with me. Open your mouth and place the thermometer under your tongue.
Miwa quietly did so. Within a few moments, the thermometer beeped, and an accurate reading showed up on the screen. Akiko pulled the thermometer back, and was stunned at the reading. Just barely over a hundred and five degrees, the thermometer read.
Akiko: Oh dear...
Kiyoko: What's wrong mom?
Akiko: Kiyoko, grab some medicine from that cabinet and grab a cup of water.
Kiyoko exits to go grab a cup.
Akiko: (Just over one hundred and five degrees, cause enough to go see a doctor. This is pretty bad.)
It doesn't take long for Kiyoko to return with a cup of water.
Kiyoko: What's wrong, mom?
Akiko: Miwa, did you ever play outside in the rain you were young?
Miwa slowly shook her head.
Akiko: Your mother protected you from everything, didn't she?
Akiko: Which means some infections your body was never exposed to. Your body doesn't know how to react to it.
Kiyoko: So Miwa's body is overreacting?
Akiko: That's...an apt way of putting it Kiyoko...
Kiyoko chuckles a little bit.
Akiko: Miwa's body didn't know how to react so it overreacted. It caused her body to develop these symptoms likely due to her being out in the rain for twenty-four hours or more, not to mention without food or water. Her body didn't know what else to do.
Kiyoko: So Miwa's body basically threw a temper tantrum?
Akiko: Again...an apt way of putting things Kiyoko.
Akiko: She'll have to be under constant observation. Kiyoko, I trust you can entertain yourself?
Kiyoko salutes, putting the side of her hand to her forehead.
Kiyoko: Oui, moi capitaine.
Kiyoko then runs off as Akiko makes an exasperated face.
Akiko: I swear that child gets that randomness from her father. I was never that crazy...right?
Miwa: So...I'm just...sick?
Akiko turns back to Miwa, who was just barely able to get the words out.
Akiko: That's the hope anyway. I shudder to think what else could be happening inside of you, but I'd like to avoid a trip to the ER. So you are going to be my number one patient for a while.
Akiko: Please take this medicine, Miwa.
Akiko lifts the pills to her lips and Miwa tilts her head back and opens her mouth to let Akiko drop them in. She then slides the cup to Miwa's lips and tilts it to let water down her throat so she could swallow it. Akiko then sets the cup on the area surrounding the bathroom sink.
Akiko: Now, if you'll excuse me for one moment. I have to go make a phone call. Don't move from this tub.
Akiko quietly stands up, and exits the bathroom. She exits the guest room and heads to the hallway, where a phone sits on top of a drawer. Akiko quietly stops, picks up the phone, and dials a number. Before long, she's on the line with a doctor on the other end.
Akiko: Hello, its Akiko...Yes, I know I'm supposed to work today, but I have a patient here that needs to be taken care of...for once its not Kiyoko, do you remember that young girl...no not that one, the one I personally saw to...yes, Miwa...well, she's in very rough condition, to the point where she needs to see a doctor, and since there's no one else she can turn to, I'm going to take care of her...Yes, she has a fever of over one hundred and five degrees...no other noticeable symptoms at the moment, but she had gone a day without food or water, and she was soaked to the bone in our recent rain...yes...yes, if you could pull any medical records that would be so much help...thank you so much for all of this...goodbye...
With that, Akiko hangs up the phone.
Akiko: I hate putting more work on them, but I have no other choice. I have to be here for Miwa's sake.
Akiko soon returns to the bathroom where Miwa sits in the bathtub.
Akiko: Let's get you out of there.
Akiko fetches a couple of fresh towels. Miwa, slowly but surely steps out of the bathtub, and wraps the fresh towel around her. She covers up quickly, feeling a bit embarrassed over someone seeing her without clothes.
Akiko: A healthy bit of modesty never hurts, but not to worry. I deal with young girls like you all the time, Miwa.
Miwa: You do?
Akiko: Indeed. I am a doctor after all. Its my job to make sure people like you stay healthy, you know?
Miwa nods. Her body dried off, Miwa returns to the bed. Akiko leaves the room for a brief moment and fetches a book. She brings a chair from her own desk, and sets it by Miwa's bedside.
Miwa: You're...going to stay?
Akiko: You are my number one patient right now, Miwa. I need to keep track of you at all times to make sure you're getting the care you need.
Akiko: I also want you to tell me if you're feeling any other symptoms. Sore throat, headache, anything at all. I need as much information as I can get.
Miwa: I just feel...weak...
Akiko: That should be expected. That's how everyone feels when sick.
Akiko: Indeed. Even the normally energetic Kiyoko would be much like you when sick.
Miwa chuckles briefly. A phone rings in the hallway. Akiko places the book on a nearby small table.
Akiko: Ah, I do believe that would be Mila with the history I need.
She stands up and quietly walks into the hallway. The phone, all the while, continuing to ring. Akiko quietly picks it up as she reaches it.
Akiko: Hello, Akiko speaking...yes Mila, what did you...I don't understand...no history? Not even a date of birth? ...But how is that even possible? ...No Mila, I believe you. I just don't understand. How could a child like this be kept in secret? ...Yes...I don't know how this child came to be, or how she was born. That just makes me all the more interested in her. I'll see what I can find out...Yes, thank you for taking care of patients in my stead Mila...Yes, please let me know if you find anything else...thank you and goodbye.
With that, Akiko hangs up the phone. Her right hand reaches up under her chin, her lips just barely nibbling at her index finger. Her elbow rests on her left hand as it reaches across her stomach.
Akiko: How odd...
Those were the only words that would come out of her mouth. She removes her index finger from her lips and places it on her cheeks.
Akiko: No medical records, no birth certificate, not a single thing to confirm that Miwa is indeed a real person. How is that even possible? How was Miwa born? How did she come to be? Does she even know? If she did, would she be willing to tell me? If she doesn't, why didn't her mother tell her about this? Even if she was adopted we could find some medical records from the adoption clinic, but even so...that she's off our grid like this is bizarre.
With thoughts buzzing through her head like an angry beehive, she returns to the room and sits down. Miwa just lay there, hadn't moved since she returned to the bed.
Akiko: Did you ever ask your mother how you were born?
Miwa weakly shakes her head.
Akiko: (No...darn it...)
Akiko: I just want to learn a little bit more about you. Did your mother ever tell you how you were born?
Miwa: Only that...I was 'special'.
Akiko: (Special? What does that mean?)
Miwa: Is that...enough?
Akiko: It'll do...
Akiko: Hm? Why are you apologizing?
Miwa: I've...always been...with mom...that's the only...life I had...
Akiko: I see.
Miwa: I can't...even answer...a simple question for you...
Akiko: Please don't worry too much about it Miwa. All I ask is that you get some rest.
Miwa: Miss Akiko?
Miwa: You said...to tell you...if there was...anything else...
Akiko: Ah, yes I did.
Miwa: There's a pain...in my chest...
Akiko: Explain it, if you can.
Miwa: It...hurts...a lot...
Akiko: I'll grab you some medicine.
Akiko stands up, and returns to the bathroom for some more medicine. She grabs the glass and fills it with cold water. She returns to the bedside and does the same thing with the medicine again. Miwa quietly took the medicine, drinking all the water she could. However, that was still only about half a glass.
Akiko: (Not as much as I'd like, but its a start.)
Miwa: Will this medicine...help?
Akiko: I hope so.
Akiko: (Sharp chest pain, fever, headaches...sounds like viral pneumonia...come to think of it, she is talking in short bursts. I wonder if her throat hurts. Well, a healthy adult would be back to normal in about two weeks, give or take a week. However, I don't know how strong her immune system is, nor do I know anything about her medical history. This is putting me in a tough spot.)
Akiko sighs openly, though softly enough so Miwa wouldn't take notice.
Akiko: (Such a frustrating case. I have the medical knowledge, and knowledge to treat, but this is my first time dealing with such a perplexing patient. My hope is she doesn't cough up blood. Then we really WILL need a trip to the ER.)